BY NOAH GRIFFITH FOR THE OBSERVER
It seemed as if last week was repeating itself as Dothan lined up for a game-winning field goal with 20 seconds remaining in the game, but Auburn High blocked out the past.
This field goal was no good. Auburn blocked Dothan’s 37-yard field goal and forced overtime, where the defense stood up to give Auburn (2-1) its first region win of the season after losing a heartbreaker to Enterprise last week.
But one overtime wasn’t enough. After the Tigers and Wolves traded touchdowns in two straight OTs, Dothan opted to go for a two-point conversion for the win, but Auburn stuffed the attempt well short to secure the 28-27 win on the road.
With each team starting on the opponent’s 10-yard line, the Wolves and Tigers both scored TDs in the first OT, with quarterback Henry Allen bulldozing his way into the end zone for Auburn to force a second OT. Senior Tre’Marcus Webb started off the frame with his second rushing TD of the night, and Dothan responded by running it in for its own score. Instead of kicking it for the tie, the Wolves tried to steal the win with a two-point attempt and failed on an outside handoff.
The game-sealing stop was just one of many defensive highlights of the night for the Tigers, but without starting QB Jackson Kilgore, who suffered an injury in last week’s game, it was rough riding at times for the offense that only put up 14 points in regulation.
With senior Ean Nation at QB in the first half, Auburn racked up two rushing scores and, more importantly, did not commit any turnovers in an offense with no experienced QBs behind Kilgore. Allen took snaps at QB for most of the second half, and despite being blanked in the second half, he also didn’t turn the ball over. He led the OT charge, scoring his first TD of the season in the first OT to keep the Tigers alive.
The defense gave Auburn momentum from start to finish, as defensive back Jace Williams snagged an interception on the game’s opening drive that he returned back to the Dothan 10-yard line. However, the Tigers failed to take advantage and turned it over on downs at the 1-yard line.
But after forcing Dothan’s first punt of the night on the next drive, Webb punched it in from nine yards out to put Auburn in front. Webb’s two scores were his first of the season, as he came into the game with no previous touches in the first two games of the season.
Dothan quickly answered with a rushing TD of its own, but Auburn punched right back with a 52-yard breakaway rushing TD from sophomore running back Omar Mabson. That marked the biggest offensive play of the game and gave Auburn a 14-7 lead going to halftime.
The Tigers got nothing going on offense in the second half, and it nearly resulted in a comeback win for Dothan.
Dothan forced an Auburn punt to start the second half and drove the ball into Auburn territory, threatening to tie the game. Then came Akeem “Deuce” White, out of nowhere. He put a commanding end to the drive with three consecutive sacks to continue the scoring drought into the fourth quarter.
Auburn punted to the Dothan 10-yard line, and the field seemed a mile long for the Wolves the way the Tiger defense had been playing. But Dothan found some juice left, and it drove down for a TD with 4:51 left in the game and again forced an Auburn punt.
The Wolves’ offense was rolling again, and QB Sam Broadaway completed a pass to the sideline to set up a game-winning field goal — just like the field goal that Enterprise sunk Auburn with in week two.
Down to the wire, Auburn stood tall, blocked the kick and outlasted previously-unbeaten Dothan (2-1) in a 2OT thriller to avoid consecutive losses for the first time since the 2016-17 season. Auburn, who will likely still be without an injured Kilgore, will stay on the road next week to take on region foe JAG High School (0-3) at 7 p.m. CST.